'Critical shortage of rape kits'

Police management had ignored calls for meetings to discuss the shortage.

There is a shortage of DNA rape kits at police stations in Gauteng and North West.

Police management had ignored calls for meetings to discuss the shortage.

The kits are used to collect DNA forensic evidence from rape victims.

The Gauteng health department's forensic pathology service raised the shortage as a matter of urgency more than seven months ago.

In an e-mail seen by the newspaper, Pretoria pathology service deputy director Jaco Louw wrote: "The absence of these items [rape-kits] opens huge loopholes in terms of control over evidence and the chain of custody of evidence, resulting in suspects walking free.

"Despite meetings with police cluster commanders, our facilities still do not receive DNA kits or sexual assault kits from investigating officers as part of the pathologists' post mortem procedures."

National police spokesman Brigadier Phuti Setati told the newspaper the SA Police Service was aware of a shortage of the kits at some police stations, but that there was an oversupply in other provinces.

"As a result, we have embarked on a process of redistribution of the forensic kits to where shortage is being experienced."

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